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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
City of Devils

City of Devils

The Two Men Who Ruled the Underworld of Old Shanghai

Paul French

Picador

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By the New York Times bestselling author of Midnight in Peking—winner of both the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime and the CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction—comes rags-to-riches tale of two self-made men set against a backdrop of crime and vice in the sprawling badlands of Shanghai.

Shanghai, 1930s; it was a haven for outlaws from all over the world: a place where pasts could beforgotten, fascism and communism outrun, names invented, and fortunes made—and lost.

“Lucky” Jack Riley was the most notorious of those outlaws. An ex–U.S. Navy boxing champion,he escaped from prison and rose to become the Slots King of Shanghai. “Dapper” Joe Farren—a Jewishboy who ed Vienna’s ghetto—ruled the nightclubs. His chorus lines rivalled Ziegfeld’s.

In 1940, Lucky Jack and Dapper Joe bestrode the Shanghai Badlands like kings, while all aroundthe Solitary Island was poverty, starvation, and war. They thought they ruled Shanghai, but the cityhad other ideas. This is the story of their rise to power, their downfall, and the trail of destruction leftin their wake. Shanghai was their playground for a flickering few years, a city where for a fleeting momenteven the wildest dreams could come true.

INTRODUCTION


Shanghai was a prize won after victory in an opium war, a war waged by Great Britain to open China to a drug that caused pain, waste, and death in the Middle Kingdom while enriching the western nations. The foreigners...

Praise for City of Devils

"City of Devils is an astonishing achievement, magically transporting the reader back to Old Shanghai, then sweeping us through its streets and its bars in a gripping, breakneck ultra-noir narrative reminiscent of vintage Ellroy."—David Peace, Author of Tokyo Year Zero

"A brilliant neo-noir about the rise and fall of two refugee outlaws at the end of Shanghai's golden age in the 1930's. Not since JG Ballard's Empire of the Sun have I read a book that has so captured the decadence, pulchritude and madness of the "Paris of the Orient"...French's prose is economical, razor sharp and lyrical...If you're interested in Shanghai, World War Two in the east, I cannot recommend City of Devils highly enough."—Adrian McKinty, Award-winning author of the Detective Sean Duffy Series

"To understand the “surrealist city,” as present-day Shanghai is enigmatically called, Paul French’s City of Devils is an absolute must. A solid, ground-breaking historical true-crime narrative, it is written with such vivid, well-researched details and totally captured me—a native Shanghainese—as if in a time capsule of the heretofore-unknown past passions and pathos of the city."—Qiu Xiaolong, Award-winning author of Inspector Chen series

"Few writers are more expert at mingling crime narrative and social history, journalistic precision and novelistic sweep, than Paul French. His books paint times and places so beguiling and tell stories so viv… More…


"City of Devils is an astonishing achievement, magically transporting the reader back to Old Shanghai, then sweeping us through its streets and its bars in a gripping, breakneck ultra-noir narrative reminiscent of vintage Ellroy."—David Peace, Author of Tokyo Year Zero

"A brilliant neo-noir about the rise and fall of two refugee outlaws at the end of Shanghai's golden age in the 1930's. Not since JG Ballard's Empire of the Sun have I read a book that has so captured the decadence, pulchritude and madness of the "Paris of the Orient"...French's prose is economical, razor sharp and lyrical...If you're interested in Shanghai, World War Two in the east, I cannot recommend City of Devils highly enough."—Adrian McKinty, Award-winning author of the Detective Sean Duffy Series

"To understand the “surrealist city,” as present-day Shanghai is enigmatically called, Paul French’s City of Devils is an absolute must. A solid, ground-breaking historical true-crime narrative, it is written with such vivid, well-researched details and totally captured me—a native Shanghainese—as if in a time capsule of the heretofore-unknown past passions and pathos of the city."—Qiu Xiaolong, Award-winning author of Inspector Chen series

"Few writers are more expert at mingling crime narrative and social history, journalistic precision and novelistic sweep, than Paul French. His books paint times and places so beguiling and tell stories so vivid and harrowing that, within pages, we’re utterly in their dark thrall. If you love Richard Lloyd Parry and David Grann, don’t miss City of Devils." --Megan Abbott, Edgar award winning author of You Will Know Me and Give Me Your Hand

"Brings interwar Shanghai to life in a gritty work of narrative non-fiction...a vivid picture of the city's nightlife and criminal underworld...it is a fascinating tale of a city on the edge." --Post Magazine (UK)

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Reviews from Goodreads

Paul French

PAUL FRENCH was born in London, educated there and in Glasgow, and has lived and worked in Shanghai for many years. His book Midnight in Peking was a New York Times Bestseller, a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, and will be made into an international mini-series by Kudos Film and Television, the UK creators of Broadchurch and Life on Mars.

image of Paul Frencho
Sue Anne Tay

Picador

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